The Lakers are on a three-game win streak. Usually this would not be much cause for celebration or be newsworthy at all. The struggles that Los Angeles has gone through this season have been a complete surprise, considering the talent level, and it is shocking to think a team with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol would miss the Playoffs.
A three-game win streak is news. Is it a sign the Lakers have started to right the ship?
Dwight Howard thinks so.
Howard told Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register that he and Bryant are on the same page now after the team meeting in Memphis last Wednesday:
Dwight Howard said Monday that the team meeting Wednesday helped refocus everyone off individual desires — including him and Kobe Bryant: 'We both want to win.' Howard said the connection between him and Bryant, in particular, has strengthened lately. Howard said they have reached a point to 'think as one and be one on the court. That took some time, but we’re getting better.'
Indeed it took some time and that midseason player's meeting — the "Come to Jesus" meeting as Dwight described it — helped refocus the team.
Kobe Bryant has come out strong in the three gams since, averaging 16.3 points per game, shooting 58.8 percent and, most surprisingly, dishing out 13.0 assists per game. Bryant's assist streak of at least 10 assists per game is just the 11th of his career and this is the fifth time he has three or more games with 10 or more assists.
Bryant has found a new role as the team's distributor and playmaker, even if that means taking the ball out of Nash's hands.
Howard too has played better. The center is averaging 16.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while playing much better defense.
More than those individual players, the Lakers are playing more as a team and seem to be actually enjoying playing together. The offense is flowing and the Lakers look like they can be a juggernaut.
Of course, Los Angeles nearly blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to New Orleans on Tuesday night and needed some clutch shooting to hold on for the win at home. Maybe things are not quite as nice as they appear in LakerLand.
But, maybe, they are getting better.